Didn’t Desmond Jennings used to be good? I really thought Desmond Jennings used to be really good. So much so, in fact, that when he was released this past week I was genuinely shocked. As it turns out, that wasn’t exactly the right state of mind to be in. He hasn’t been all that good for a while.
Because while Jennings was good in his rookie season (2011), and fairly valuable again in 2013, for the most part he was just another player. Average at best, atrocious at worst.
Jennings was drafted twicea��by Cleveland in the 18th round (2005) and Tampa Bay in the 10th (2006). So just how much hype was there for the tenth-rounder, anyway? Well from 2008 through 2011, Jennings made Baseball America’s Top 100 list. For Baseball Prospectus, he was never outside the Top 50. Ahead of 2010, he cracked the Top 10 of both lists.
And when Jennings finally earned more than his cup of coffee for the first time (2011), he shined. Over 287 plate appearances (in 63 appearances), Jennings slashed .259/.356/.449 with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He walked 31 times compared to 59 strikeouts. Placing seventh in Rookie of the Year voting (teammate Jeremy Hellickson won), Jennings made quite the first impression.
He was average at best the following season before breaking out in 2013, but it’s been rough ever since. At age 26, Jennings notched his most valuable season for the Rays. He hit well enough and got on base often enough, effectively canceling out his struggles defensively. In parts of three seasons since that 4.0 WARP year back in ’13, Jennings shows a WARP of just 1.5. Total. It’s not quite replacement level, but it’s bench bat only material. It’s fourth outfielder at best material.
But you know what? That’s just fine. Jennings doesn’t turn 30 until October. At the very least, he needs time to rest and recover. And he has the time. Some team will snatch him up in winter, if not sooner, and he’ll get to start over. So, let’s not close the book on his career just yet.
But no, he wasn’t as good as I thought. Not consistently, anyway. Where did I get that idea?
Where’s Home? In 2007, 16-year-old Oswaldo Arcia became a Twin. He was a Top 100 prospect across the board ahead of 2013. He didn’t bat for average or get on base. Instead, he hit 34 home runs between ’13 and ’14 in his first two seasons. Up until 2015, he was destroying minor league pitching.
Not only can he seemingly not do that anymore, but he’s also been moving around quite a bit. In June, the Rays and Twins made a trade. Two months later, the Rays would waive Arcia. The Marlins eventually got him, only to waive him the same week. The Padres have him now, and I’ve just got to ask: How long is the road back going to be? Also, will he make it?
Arcia is only 25 years old, but outside of his first two seasons with the Twins, there’s been nothing positive to take away. Since hitting 34 home runs in his first 200 ML games, Arcia has tallied 20 in the 127 since. He slugged .441 in those first two seasons, and has slugged just .385 since. He still doesn’t get on base enough (.304 career clip), which means he cannot afford to strike out as much as he does. Or flat out not hit.
He could be an attractive fourth outfielder option, but if his bat stays the same, there’s little point. Arcia is not a plus-defender, and he hasn’t been able to hit for power since 2014. That said, if we’re talking strictly in terms of age, I’ll take Arcia as some sort of bounce back candidate over Jennings. Barely.
No Excuses, Only Sadness: Jeremy Jeffress is no longer with the Brewers, and now we must wonder how long he’ll last in Texas. The reliever was arrested and charged with a DWI Friday morning, and the details are troubling. Let’s get one thing straight: drinking and driving is bad. Nobody should ever do it. Especially athletes and celebrities, who have the resources to call a cab, Uber, etc… at any given moment.
Everything after the DWI only compounds the issue. Like a blood alcohol content of .115, and several other details from the arrest. Above all else, I just wish Jeffress would have thought twice. He could have hurt someone. He could have hurt himself. These situations can always be avoided, and as someone who saw his career resurrected in Milwaukee, it’s disappointing.
I’m glad he didn’t hurt anyone. I’m glad he didn’t hurt himself. I just hope that after all Jeffress has overcome in his lifetime, he learns from this. Baseball can waita��forever, if it has to. I just want him to be okay.